7. Reading #2: Shepherds don’t make sheep; sheep make sheep.
A few years ago I had a conversation with a fellow pastor whose church had rapidly grown after his appointment there. I asked him what he had done that played a part in that growth, and his answer surprised me. “There were two things,” he said. “The first thing I stress to them is that Shepherds don’t make sheep; sheep make sheep.”
It’s a simple idea, but profound: Mature Christians make new Christians.
In shepherding, this could be called the limiting factor. How many lamb producing sheep are in the flock? How many have reached that level of maturity where lambs become sheep that produce lambs? When we look at the problem this way, it’s obvious that few in our flock ever grow up beyond the infancy stage of spirituality. (The actual percentage that remains at the infancy stage is close to 83% of church attenders.) Lambs cannot make sheep; only sheep can make sheep. This is the limiting factor that impedes church growth and why many churches are rapidly dwindling.
Reflection Question 7.1: As you consider the flock in which you are a part, do you agree that many are still “lambs” and not very mature?
Reflection Question 7.2: Can you list some people who seem to you to still be “lambs” in Christ? What are the “lambs” like in your church?
Reflection Question 7.3: Would you agree that the definition of maturity is twofold – to be able to reproduce and to be able to raise offspring to maturity where they can do the same?
*Reflection Question 1.2.1:
The photo “Disciple Making 101” is by David Kueker.
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.